The UK Student Visa is called an INF 5. You will apply for the INF 5 at a British mission overseas – usually, the British embassy in your home country in Africa. In most areas, you can submit an application in person, online, or by mail. Check the British embassy website for your home country – it will list all the requirements for your student visa.
Some embassies accept only online applications. At those missions, if you aren’t able to make an application online, you’ll need to fill out a special form called a VAF-1 non-settlement. That form replaces the online application, in cases where it’s impossible to submit the application online. You’ll also need a copy of your passport, extra passport photographs, the visa fee and supporting documents.
In most cases, you won’t have to interview to obtain a student visa for the UK. In a few cases, when an embassy official can’t obtain all the information that he or she needs, you will be asked to appear in person for an interview. In some countries, you’ll be required to take a test for active tuberculosis before being granted a student visa.
Before applying for your student visa, you must be accepted by a school on the UK’s Department for Education and Skills (DfES) Register of Education and Training Providers. Any reputable university will be on the list. When you’re applying for the student visa, you’ll need to provide a copy of your acceptance letter from the school, as well as a statement of costs from the school. If you have been offered a scholarship by the school or another group or agency, you’ll need a letter confirming that, as well.
In order to qualify for a student visa, you’ll need to show that you can support yourself, and any dependants while you live in the UK. You must show enough income to support yourself without working and without relying on public funds. This also means you must show that you have enough money to pay for health care, rather than relying on NHS, the National Health Service. Supporting documents might include paycheck stubs, bankbooks or letters of sponsorship from individuals or government agencies in your home country. If you are being sponsored by an individual, that person will have to provide proof of financial resources, including business information, pay stubs and bankbooks.
You’ll also be required to show that you intend to leave the UK when your complete your studies. Student visas are never issued to people who plan to remain in the UK permanently. Some students change their mind and are granted work permits to remain in the UK after their education. Usually, this requires a student with a bachelor’s degree to be sponsored by a UK government agency. Students with second honors degrees, master’s degrees or PhDs can remain in the UK for a year, without a work permit, while they look for work. However, in order to qualify for the initial student visa, you must say that you intend to return to your own country after your education is complete.